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Ancient Buddha statue discovered in China    

17 January 2017, 11:23:05

International Desk: A 600-year-old Buddha statue has been discovered in a reservoir in east China's Jiangxi Province after water levels fell during renovation work.

A local villager first spotted the head of the Buddha last month when the water level fell by more than 10 meters during work on a hydropower gate.

The Buddha's head sits against a cliff and gazes serenely over the body of water. It has attracted many tourists as well as locals, who see it as an auspicious sign.

Archaeologists said the statue could date back to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

A preliminary study of the statue suggests it was probably built during early Ming Dynasty, maybe even earlier as the Yuan Dynasty.

Local records suggest the reservoir was located on the ruins of an ancient town called Xiaoshi.

An underwater archeology team is investigating both the ancient town and the statue and working on a preservation plan.

Being submerged in water could have preserved the statue, which features surprisingly detailed carving.

If the statue wasn't preserved in the water, it could have suffered weathering, oxidation or other risks.

The statue is around 12.5 feet (3.8 meters) tall and carved into a cliff.

An underwater archeology team is investigating both the ancient town and the statue.

The statue was submerged in 1960 when the Hongmen reservoir was built. At that time, local authorities weren't aware of heritage protection.

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